26 May 2012

Pea & Ham Soup - so near, but yet so far!

This is one soup that I won't be passing on the recipe for.  Well, not until I find a raw ham hock, instead of a cooked one.

You see, I really should have worked out that if you use a cooked ham hock in a slow cooker soup, you stand the chance of ruining the whole thing because of the salt content.


It all started so well, too.

I actually remembered to put the split peas in to soak - and from what appeared to be just a handful of split peas, they swelled up to a quite sizeable amount!  I needed them to do that, as I was getting a little bit nervous as to whether we'd have enough for everyone at the end of it all.

I had thought to put the slow cooker on overnight, but it suddenly dawned on me that if I did that, the soup would have been cooking for a good 24 hours - which was rather more than intended.  In the recipe (from the "Prestige Book of Crock Pot Cookery"), it said to cook for some 10-12 hours on low - so I compromised and went for 8 hours on medium.

It had been smelling great and when I lifted the lid to remove the ham hock to strip the meat from the bones, I had a little taste.  Mmmmn, it was yummy - and tasted just like the canned Pea & Ham soup, except better.

I tried to mash the peas as it said in the recipe, but wasn't getting anywhere, so out came the hand-held blitzer and I blitzed probably around two-thirds of the content - leaving just enough for a bit of texture.

I'd tasted the meat and had registered that it was rather salty, but was so full of "is it the right flavour?" and "is it the right texture?" and "is it okay for hubby/son & heir", not to mention "oh flip, I've forgotten to heat up the bread rolls", that it didn't occur to me to be conservative over how much of the meat I included in the soup.  So it all went in and the longer it sat there, the saltier the soup got.

I ate all mine (didn't have any bread rolls, you see!), son & heir did a great job with his, but hubby just couldn't handle the saltiness and so baled out at an early stage.

Dammit - I quite thought I'd sussed the problem of not being able to buy a raw ham hock!



  1. Morrisons are good for ham hocks - from the fresh meat counter, also very reasonable. I always bring mine up to the boild from cold first to get rid of the saltiness, then start my soup with a pot of fresh water. TBH, the peas need to be cooked for much longer than the ham hock, so I will usually cook the hock with water,onion,celery, herbs and spices, then take the meat out, cook the peas in the stock and add the diced meat afterwards. if you peel off the rind, slice and cook in a hot oven, you can make very good, fresh pork scratchings!

    1. Unfortunately, we haven't found a Morrisons any closer than Ringwood - which is about 10 miles away and just a touch too far for everyday shopping. Whenever we find one that's close enough to go to, I'll definitely investigate, thanks! :)

  2. Jenny, I get around this by boiling mine in just water for half an hour and then throwing that lot of water away. It gets rid of a lot of salt (and some of the fat)

    Have a nice day.

    1. Carole, is that a pre-cooked ham hock, or a raw one? In the case of a cooked one - thinking on - I suppose there's not a lot of difference in cooking it in water, when you're going to be putting it into a slow cooker. Do you lose much of the flavour doing that?

  3. My real man being a Geordie pease pudding is almost a staple in our house. All I do is gently cook a gammon joint in plain water, covered, till tender and soak the split peas for several hours. I then drain the peas, just cover with the gammmon stock and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally and adding more stock if necessary till the peas have pretty well fallen into a puree of their own accord. I might beat them or whisk them a bit. This is delicious as a side dish with the ham and also spread in ham sarnies but if you cook some onions and stir in some of the pease pudding and some veg stock or water you have a simple but yummy London Particular!

    1. I know pease pudding very well, Suzy. My hubby is a Geordie too! He introduced me to Stottie cake with tinned ham, mustard & pease pudding - which quite often features in our High Teas. :)


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